Spence Stages Dramatic Comebacks to Secure Jimmy Knott Title
Submitted by Jeffrey Horine
A competitive field gathered for the Jimmy Knott Memorial singles event at Boston’s Tennis & Racquet Club from October 16-18, with eight of the event’s 12 participants carrying a handicap between 14-22. In the end, Alex Spence, who staged two dramatic comebacks during 4 ½ hours of court time, squeezed his way through the crowded field to secure the title with a victory in the finals over Jeremy Wintersteen by the score of 6/5 4/6 6/5.
Spence first had to save three match points in his semifinal match against Jeffrey Horine in order to reach the finals against Wintersteen. Spence, the number two seed, was down 6/0 5/3 against the number three seeded Horine before rallying for the victory by a final score of 0/6 6/5 6/4. In the other semifinal, the fourth seeded Wintersteen rallied from a 4-1 deficit to topple top seeded Brook Hazelton 6/4 6/2.
In the finals, it was Spence again saving set points — two of them this time to take the first set 6/5. Wintersteen rallied to take the second set 6/4 and then grabbed a 5/3 lead in the third. Spence took the next game and then hit three grills to knot the match at 5/5 in the third. In the decisive game, Spence went up 40-15 to hold two match points and then claimed the service side with a chase, but Wintersteen dug balls from the corners to win the chase on the next point to save the first match point. Spence hadn’t forgotten that it was Wintersteen who had saved a match point a few months earlier to outlast Spence in the T&R’s club tournament semifinals. This time would be different. Spence hit a winning backhand on his next match point to conclude a well-played, intense battle for the title in front of an entertained crowd.
In the backdraw final, David Tedeschi outdueled Andy Roberts 6/1 6/4.
Special thanks to Tony Hollins, T&R’s Head Professional, and Leon Smart, T&R’s new Assistant Professional, for excellent marking and a well run tournament.